Operation Hunker Down

June 29, 2009 at 5:20 pm Leave a comment

Hey friends and family. Just wanted to let everyone know that I am alive and well. I was advised not to mention much on my blog about the political situation here, so I will spare most details. I am sure you can find an abundance of articles online! Peace Corps has quarentined us to our own sites, and yesterday we were ordered to stay in our own apartments. My friends and I got so bored we made our own version of “Honduran Risk” complete with a game board and little pieces. Fun times! The whole country is on a curfew at night too. But no worries. Apparently this is normal down here, according to my coworkers.

Let’s see, what else is new and grand other than this exciting political news? I’ve been working on some new projects which have been keeping me busy. Another volunteer and I are training Juntas de Agua (waterboards) in admin, organization, operation and maintence of their new water systems. Juntas are offical groups that are supposed to take care of their communitiy water systems, which include a president, secretary, and treasure. What happens a lot is that these Juntas are never formed, or are poorly trained, so their water system goes to crap very quickly, when they are really designed for a 20 year life span. So my friend and I were informed that we would be helped with the training by another Honduran, so we would only be resonsible for half of the presentation. So we showed up on a Friday with half of the material ready to ride our horses into the campo to ensenar the gente. The Honduran that was helping is showed up too, without his materials. Que paso? I asked, a little worried. He replied ‘Fijese que . . . I didn’t prepare anything. I’ve never done this. I am just going to watch”. . . . . . So my friend and I had to wing the second half of our training for 2 hours.

Let me tell you something about fijese que or fijete que. . . It literally means “notice” or pay attention”. All Hondurans say this when they are about to feed you a line of bull or give you a great excuse.  They say it straight faced too, and it almost makes me think that they believe their own crap. Like why my host mom here covers her mirrors when it is lightning out. Fijese que the lightning can come through the windows, bounce off the mirrors, and strike her children. Or fijese que I can’t take you to the aldea on Thurday even though I promised you because the car is  disponible. Very frustrating to say the least.

On the same subject, I went out to a very poor aldea last Friday to do a community encuesta (survey) for my latrine project. My job was to go around to each family that needed a latrine and take down house information. I also had to explain to them their own compromisos of the project. For instance, they must provide their own rock, water, and unskilled worker to build the latrine. Not an easy task when each house is about a half a mile apart, uphill, and the campesino that is toothless and wearing rubber boots is kicking your ass on this hike. Not to mention the campesino spanish language is almost like mandarin chinese. So throughout the day, I noticed families asking for latrines that already had ones.

“Why do you need a new one?” I asked.

Fijese que, esta no sirve (meaning it doesn’t work)”.

“Really? How old is it”

Ya esta llena. Tiene 2 anos. Quiero nueva. (It’s already full, it’s 2 years old. I want a new one).

At this point, I was getting a pretty annoyed. I realized the campesino that was taking me around was purposely showing me houses that already had latrines and that they were his friends who wanted new onesjust for the heck of it. I mean, I guess I can’t blame them. When you are that poor, of course you would want new things. I was the kid who always opened the new cereal box when the old one wasn’t finished yet. It’s a whole different world. This is what it is like to work with the gente. And this is why Honduras is going through all of this politcal mess right now.


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En el Campo Operation “Can travel, unless you encounter a roadblock”

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